In his article “Idiot Nation” Michael Moore criticizes idiocy of Americans. He criticizes illiteracy, ignorance and inactivity of American people. Moore censures incompetent politicians and people who voted for them. He exposes corporate takeover of American schools. However, despite his strong critique he manages to connect to his reader. Michael Moore effectively uses ethos, pathos and logos to make his reader to see American idiocy and moves the reader to be active. Moore establishes a good character and good judgment. The first sentence in this article, the question “Do you feel like you live in the nation of idiots?”, takes the reader out of the category of idiots. This means that the author assumes that his reader is a well-read and smart person. Throughout this article Moore often uses suggested warrants and does not say things straight up. He leads the reader to make his own conclusion, which again proves that author trust his reader to be an intelligent person.
Moore uses words “sports”, “friends” and “guys”; this shows that despite all the critique he doesn’t look down to his reader (123-124). On the page 124 he says straight up that he hates “writing these words” and that he “loves this big lug country and the crazy people in it”. This shows that he does not write just to make someone feel bad, or ashamed, or angry, but he writes to wake people up and make them see what is happening in America and change it. At the end of his article Moore gives his student-reader a guideline “How to Be a Student Subversive Instead of a Student Subservient” which proves that his goal is to move the reader to be active, to see the absurdity of the way things are going in America and do something about it. This and all of the above help Moore establish a good character and connect with his reader. Moreover, Michael Moore successfully appeals to readers’ emotions.
He uses a lot of humor in this article. On the page 126 he talks about his unsuccessful attempt to skip to the second grade, where phrase “well, inertia and fast food eventually proved her wrong on that count” makes the reader at least smile picturing overweight bullies trying to catch Moore. The other example is sarcastic “No, Sally, the Soviet Union isn’t our enemy. The soviet Union has been kaput for ten years…” (131). Moore uses sarcasm throughout this article. For example, on the page 125 talking about history requirements of the top universities he writes “Who needs history when you are going to be tomorrow’s master of the universe?” On the same page Moore critiques that not all English majors require taking course in Shakespeare: “Can somebody explain to me what Shakespeare and English have to do with each other”. His use of sarcasm not only helps him to smoothen harsh tone of this article but also to show his reader all the absurdity of the situation. Moore also appeals to shame.
For example, “Our problem isn’t just that our kids don’t know nothin’ but the adults who pays their tuition are no better” (124). Moreover, he shames “people who vote” for electing incompetent politicians and supporting such decisions as “building another bomber” over “educating our children” (124). Moore also appeals to anger. On the page 130 he talks about the situation in American schools where classes “held in janitor’s closet” or “teachers mop their own floors and students do without toilet paper”. This makes Moore’s readers feel angry and betrayed because everyone who went to school can relate to this. However, Moore’s effective use of ethos and pathos is not all that makes this article resonate with the reader. Moore also strongly appeals to logic by supporting his arguments with plenty examples, quotes and statistics.
For example, on the page 123 talking about politicians and how ignorant they are Moore gives many examples of them not knowing things that they were supposed to know if they had read their briefing papers, not even talking the knowledge they should have gotten from the elite schools they had attended. Moore also gives us many examples of his personal experiences with schools. One example of that would be on the pages 127-128 he writes about him running for the school board and winning. Moore also quotes different people in this article. On the page 128 he provides quote from Chester Finn, a former assistant secretary of education in “Bush the Elder’s” administration, and on the page 131 he quotes Jonathan Kozol.
Moreover, the author quotes media. On the page 129 exposing the way teachers are being treated in America Moore provides several quotes from different newspapers and magazines. Another example would be his use of statistics and facts on pages 131-136 where he expresses his condemnation of corporate takeover of American schools. One of the many examples would be “… school programs and activities have seen corporate sponsorship increase by 248 percent”. By supporting his arguments Moore validates his article. His quotes of different people also show that he is not the only one who sees things a certain way. To conclude, Moore’s article “Idiot Nation” is well written work created to expose idiocy of the American nation and move people to change that. Despite such harsh tone of this article Moore manages to win the reader over by successfully incorporating humor and sarcasm into this article, establishing a good moral character and supporting his arguments.